“Single’s Inferno 2” Star Kim Jin Young Under Fire For Cultural Appropriation

The fan-favorite is not without flaws.

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Single’s Inferno 2 heartthrob Kim Jin Young is receiving criticism for cultural appropriation.

Kim Jin Young | Netflix

Netflix‘s hit Korean reality dating show Single’s Inferno returned at the end of 2022 for Season 2 with a new group of singles searching for love on the deserted island “Inferno.”

At the end of Episode 3, we were introduced to the new “shy guy,” Kim Jin Young, who absolutely demolished the competition in the men’s game. He instantly stole viewers’ and contestants’ hearts with his nonchalant attitude, coolness, and masculinity. Some are even comparing his vibe to that of BTS‘s Jungkook.

| Netflix

Yet, some viewers are pointing out something problematic about Jin Young.

| Netflix

In Episode 5, Jin Young goes to Paradise (resort) for a night with Shin Seul Ki. There, he reveals his tattoos.

Kim Jin Young (left) and Shin Seul Ki (right) | Netflix

Seul Ki noticed that one of his arms was completely tatted. So, she asked him if it was real and the meaning behind it.

| Netflix

Jinyoung simply replied, “It means warrior.” At first, she misheard his response as “angel,” so she asked him if he was religious.

| Netflix

He repeated himself and explained that he wanted to get a tattoo representative of his background as a former ROKN UDT/SEAL.

| Netflix

He further showed off his sleeve, revealing the details. It included bullets in honor of his military background.

| Netflix

Later, we see the rest of his ink when they go swimming. It goes all the way up to his arm, chest, and even back.

| Netflix

But this detailed tattoo is exactly what many viewers are finding problematic about Jin Young.

A TikTok posted by @polychbin..jt has gone viral. It featured the pool scene with TikToker AUSTIMUS PRIME (@ayoaustimus)’s audio “I keep hearing my people, but I’m not seeing my people.” 


Honestly I felt uncomfortable seeing the tribal tattoo. He said the meaning behind his tatoo was being a “Warrior” like bffr #kimjinyoung #singlesinferno #singlesinfernonetflix #tribaltattoo #samoan #filipino #CODSquadUp

♬ But im not seeing my ppl – AUSTIMUS PRIME🔱

At the time of writing, the video has 513.8K views and 81.3K likes. The OP (Original Poster) captioned it, “Honestly I felt uncomfortable seeing the tribal tattoo…”

So, the OP is referencing tribal tattoos, which Jin Young’s tattoo is clearly designed after. Tribal tattoos originate from Indigenous people groups. The popular, modernized “tribal tattoo” style specifically originates from Polynesians, including Maori, Samoans, Tahitian, and Hawaiian traditions.

Historically, these designs were a way to express a person’s tribal heritage or ancestry. They also look amazing and have a variety of cultural significance. Regardless of where the tattoo is placed, tribal tattoos are extremely popular.

— Southwestern Rugs Depot

| Polynesian Tattoo Symbols

As with any tradition, it holds great significance. So, for many, it is spiritual and cultural. It is also still practiced, and you can see Samoan celebrities, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and KJ Apa, have tribal tattoos.

What did tattoos symbolize in American Indian culture? The art of the tattoo was used differently depending on the tribe, but it was considered a sacred and spiritual ritual across Native American society. Individuals were often marked with symbols of protection and guardian spirit emblems.

— Faust Gallery

The Rock in “Baywatch” | Paramount Pictures
KJ Apa | @kjapa/Instagram

So, many were disappointed to see Kim Jin Young’s “tribal tattoo,” knowing he is Korean because it’s cultural appropriation. He is receiving heavy criticism from netizens on TikTok after the OP’s viral video.

| @lychbin..jt/TikTok

Considering it’s a whole tattoo and not merely an accessory, this is unfortunately not something that can be easily resolved. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Source: lychbin..jt, Southwestern Rugs Depot, Faust Gallery and Polynesian Tattoo Symbols

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